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Anthems

August 13, 2016

 

fiji

Like everyone else, I liked hearing Fiji’s anthem.  That rugby seven team sung it with passion and dexterity.  The lyrics are a lot better in Fijian than they are in English.

Fijian lyrics[edit]

Meda dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Biu na i tovo tawa savasava

CHORUS:
Me bula ga ko Viti
Ka me toro ga ki liu
Me ra turaga vinaka ko ira na i liuliu
Me ra liutaki na tamata
E na veika vinaka
Me oti kina na i tovo ca

Me da dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Me sa biu na i tovo tawa yaga

Bale ga vei kemuni na cauravou e Viti
Ni yavala me savasava na vanua
Ni kakua ni vosota na dukadukali
Ka me da sa qai biuta vakadua

Fijian lyrics- Translated[edit]

Let us show our pride and honour our nation
Where righteous people reside
Where prosperity and fellowship may persevere
Abandon deeds that are immoral

CHORUS:
Let Fiji live on
And progress onwards
May our leaders be honourable men
Let them lead our people
To great things
And bring an end to all things immoral

Let us show pride and honour our nation
Where righteous people reside
Where prosperity and fellowship may persevere
Abandon deeds that are immoral

The burden of change lie on your shoulders youth of Fiji
Be the strength to cleanse our nation
Be wary and not harbour malice
For we must abandon such sentiments forever

 

In English, the anthem  seems rather stilted and awkward in its denunciation of immorality.  But words and music together create an anthem that sounds like the warm embrace of an extended family after a long delayed homecoming.

I’m in Canada right now, and CBC have this segment where various anthems are cut and pasted together to form a sort of composite world anthem.  A cheesy endeavour and a profoundly necessary one, trying in the face of all experience, to suggest that each nation not only sings a song to itself but contributes to a larger song.   The effect is to suggest that nations do not just sing song to themselves but songs that can add to a larger song that anyone can appreciate and join in.

This is just not true, but it needs to be.   The British anthem, which offers nothing but devotion to a dynasty, is useless from this composite point of view.

Indeed, I find rather sad watching British fans waving a zombie flag for a nation that has no longer any effective (or affective) existence.  Britain died because it didn’t love itself enough to want to be part of anything bigger than itself.  Its lung capacity shriveled as it closed in on itself and it denied itself the breath to sing anything at all.

Which is when Fiji beat Britain at Rugby Sevens, everybody (else) in the world felt just a bit Fijian.

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